RaveThe Star TribuneWhen you think about it, a lot of good narrative journalism is sought by readers already sharing the writer\'s views and wishing to understand more. A genre that might be slighted as \'preaching to the choir\' is potent for readers seeking to organize their thinking and contribute to solving social problems ... Macy\'s Raising Lazarus is another remarkable book of this sort, bursting with lucid and crucial argumentation ... The book has a poverty-conscious whisper of Liberation Theology running through it, while making no demands upon readers beyond compassion for the souls who\'ve gotten themselves in this jam and ride it into scuzzy self-neglect ... Macy\'s books offer frank \'advocacy journalism\' of the refreshing sort that calls out selfish lies. The straight-up flavor of her writing is delightful if you believe her, and it\'s hard not to ... Dopesick and Raising Lazarus are reverse Pandora\'s Boxes. They are not only fascinating reading but also powerful guides to remedying widespread sickness, misery and death.
MixedThe Star TribuneThe vignette-filled short chapters may have seemed a solution to the narrative puzzle of humanizing a city of immigrants through their actions. But, though we soon affirm what we might assume all along — that they are regular people living their lives stalwartly, day by day — a reader may wish for more guidance than is on offer ... Makes readers hungry, but might leave some unsatisfied. There\'s an impressive vastness to the reporting, but it is not tamed in the service of systematic insight ... The daily facts flow past us like rubble from the flood of cultures. The net realization is that energetic young people from several religions and backgrounds devote themselves to a process that amounts to homogenization, as our commercial vigor and consumerism convert these diverse and admirable souls into more of us — in the same deep trouble ... akes an honorable place among the literature of urban revitalization, offering us few answers — perhaps there are few, in the current atmosphere of unresolvable peril — but much to consider.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star Tribune[Roberts\'] travels are bold and sociable, and our vicarious pleasure ... Quest-travel books are a rich subgenre, and Roberts is indefatigable. She is serious and never ironic about the quest. She loves pianos and pianists but she also loves the stories they bring to light. And she’s an ace reporter, mixing with locals and officials, tracking rumors. Her informants become pals. She follows their leads through snow squalls and mosquito swarms ... The hunt gives her a mission to push through the hermetic norms of prevailing culture, which mostly obliges her, revealing its secret strength of kindness; her mission and her nature seem fortunately shaped to bring out the best in people ... Roberts reveals herself slowly and is terrific company, our acute, busy, sympathetic and scattered guide. She’s always got several plates spinning — dramatic historic anecdotes, emotive narratives about the piano of the moment, the building it’s in, the neighborhood’s heritage, the parallel adventures of prior literary travelers ... So, it’s hardly a history text, more a series of intriguing chats on the human condition with a charming friend excited to share specifics of what she’s experienced and discovered. By page 100, I’d settled in, sipping vodka as I read happily on about piano lore, foul-weather adventures, gossipy history, a cast mainly of hospitable locals, and ultimately, as in the best travel books, glad for the fine company of the author.
Jason De Parle
RaveThe Star TribuneThis ambitious and successful book profiles an extended Filipino family inching toward prosperity by laboring out of country for years, migrating to do arduous work in harsh places. It’s the opposite of an instant book; it has been cooking for three decades. The chef has combined, in considered proportion, ingredients gathered around the world—revealing family and work scenes set in the Philippines, Oman and Saudi Arabia, aboard wandering cruise ships and deep in the heart of Texas. And right when we’re hungry for them, he serves up telling social and economic digressions that place the family’s struggles in a political and economic context of global migration ... DeParle has a frank, amiable and plain-spoken virtuosity as a writerA Good Provider Is One Who Leaves deserves a place on the same high shelf as Kate Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers and David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers—recent books that enrapture readers with moving narrative while elegantly elucidating deep, humane and informed understandings of poverty and conflict. These books represent the highest and most powerful use of the oft-read but rarely identified genre of narrative journalism.
RaveMinneapolis Star Tribune\"... a tough book to keep reading, an uncomfortable and relentless close-up, chapter after chapter documenting the social havoc and personal suffering leading to teens and children being murdered or committing murder, almost all by gunshot, through three summer months of 2013 ... Kotlowitz... is a brilliant reporter who covers one of America\'s most heartbreaking beats. Readers know this author walks the walk. If his new book is disconcerting to read, it\'s also hard to look away from. Kotlowitz\'s accounts of love, friendship, parenting, rivalry, humiliation and the pressure to maintain respect are fascinatingly real ... Writers trade off as they compose, between enchanting readers and specifying complexity. Alex Kotlowitz has written daringly, accomplishing both, and readers who join his harrowing journey surely will emerge with deeper and kinder understandings, and perhaps feel morally implicated by their understanding of the grim realities his summer tour shows us.\
RaveThe Minneapolis Star Tribune...electrifying reading, with proximate doom at stake, fascinating because we parse crucial events we know generally, by how they affect our new book friends. We hang out with the Family Dodd — the academic, tepid, fussy, frugal, austere, passively anti-Semitic ambassador, and most especially, his volatile, steamy, intriguing daughter, who arrives in Berlin encumbered by a hasty marriage, recalling an affair with poet Carl Sandburg, and heading, in the ensuing hundreds of pages, for flings with a high SS officer and with a mushball married Soviet spy whose moves were prescripted in Moscow … Larson takes us there, numbed and entranced, not, this time, merely in pursuit of whodunit, but in pursuit of the anatomy of tyranny. It’s a bigger book than his other good books, and a crucial anatomy for us to comprehend.
RaveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneTo accomplish this writing, Boo has performed a feat of access and candid reportage that amounts to a devotion ... Boo has dissected, as if with scalpel and forceps, the stabilizing anatomy of corruption, how greed and need...govern the survival of all in the village, especially anyone industrious, anyone who reaches for education or comes up with a scheme to make a bit of money ...Boo has sculpted her reporting and language and ingenious structuring of the revelation of events...to bring us onto the streets and into the tense minds of her characters, though their lives are far from most Western readers' experience, in their difficult corner of urban brutality.